Evaluating and Selecting ITSM Tools
I am often asked, what is the best ITSM tool? Which tools are ITIL compliant? The answer is, of course, “it depends!” Every organization has different needs, budgets and resources.
For now, there is no officially recognized “ITIL Compliant” designation. The OGC and APM Group have recently introduced a Software Assessment Scheme that will audit ITSM toolsets against specifically defined ITIL criteria. Going forward, you will be able to easily identify the tool suites that have met those requirements.
The starting point is a list of generic requirements. An integrated suite is preferable and should include as much of the following as possible:
- Service Portfoilio
- Service Catalog
- Service Design Tools
- Discovery/Deployment/Licensing Technology
- Workflow or process engines
- Configuration Management Systems (CMS)
- Self Help for Users
- Remote Control
- Diagnostic Utilities
- Reporting Tools/Dashboards
- Service Knowledge Management System (SKMS)
Depending on your requirements, goals, budget, ITSM maturity level, you may need one, several or all of the above technologies. A good suite will offer the flexibility to purchase only those modules that are currently needed by your organization with the option to add more over time.
The next step is to assess your current tools and their use. The assessment may reveal that you are not using existing tools to their fullest capability. Consider the following when evaluating existing tools and possible new purchases:
- Support for monitoring service levels, data structure, data handling and integration
- Integration of multi-vendor infrastructure components
- Conformity to internaltional open standards
- Flexibility in implemenatation usage and data sharing
- Distributed clients with a centralized shared database
- Conversion requirements
- Data backup, control and security
- Support and scalability
The following are useful evaluation techniques:
- Gather your Requirements. (Use the MoSCoW strategy for evaluating your requirements. Must haves (M), Should haves (S), Could haves (C), and our Won’t haves but would like to have (W)?)
- From the MoSCoW list, create a Statement of Requirements (SOR).
- Identify possible products
- Determine a selection criteria
- Evaluate products
- Put together a short list of products
- Score the final products
- Rank the products
- Select the product that meets your needs and budget
Please remember that a tool is NOT a magic bullet. Effective internal processes are critical to gaining efficiencies through tools. Tool success will likely depend on your planning, deployment, management and improvement of process.
While there are many good ITSM technologies in the marketplace today, it is important to select the one that meets your specific and unique requirements.